Geneva Keeps Thiel Winless With 31-17 Win
Written by: William Albright on Saturday, September 27th, 2008
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Western PA Writer
GREENVILLE — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again and hopefully it will happen.
However, for the Thiel Tomcats, although they have shown improvement from week to week, they came up short in each of the first four games.
When Thiel and Geneva faced each other Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium, one thing was guaranteed.
With a tie no longer a possibility in the game of football, one of the two teams would pick up its first win of the 2008 campaign.
When the issue was finally decided, it was Geneva (1-2) who tasted victory for the first time this season as the Golden Tornadoes downed the Tomcats, 31-17, in a battle of previously winless clubs.
“I have to give them (Thiel) a lot of credit because I think they are pretty good at what they do,” said Geneva head coach Geno DeMarco. “Their quarterback is much improved and they have a lot of speed to the outside, but we are fortunate because we have a whole backfield of running backs. Last year we were in the same position as they are now. But let me say this, that if Jack Leipheimer is coaching that football team, the one thing that is certain is that they are going to get better and better each week.
Although his club is still looking for that evasive win of the 2008 campaign, Thiel head coach Jack Leipheimer feels his club improved from last week.
“The kids have to stay the course, the coaches have to stay the course and if we all do that, we will be OK,” said Leipheimer. “Eventually we will get off this (losing streak) if we continue to do what we are doing and just get a little better each time.”
After a scoreless first quarter that saw the two teams combined for six punts to begin the game, the Tornadoes took a 14-0 lead on a 1-yard run by quarterback David Girardi and a 1-yard plunge by tailback Gerard Muschett.
However, not to be awed by the 14-point deficit, the Tomcats battled back to cut the Geneva lead to 14-10 at halftime on a 30-yard field goal by John Madeline and a special team’s play that saw Stephen Roberto block a Geneva punt that was returned 32 yards for a score by Bryan Villegas.
The Golden Tornadoes threatened to run away and hide with the win as they scored 10 more points in the third period on a 34-yard Nick DiPetro field and a Matt Dean 2-yard run, the first of two touchdowns by Dean in the win.
However, just as they did at the end of the first half, the Tomcats clawed their way back to a 7-point deficit when Jeremiah Wagner hauled in a 9-yard scoring pass from quarterback Willie Bova.
With the Tomcats still hanging around, that is when Demarco turned to his New Castle area (Neshannock High School) duo of Dean and Matt Barge to control the ball and keep the Tomcats from getting any closer.
“We have four good running backs, but those two kids from Neshannock complement each other real well,” praised DeMarco. “We didn’t do a whole lot, but that was due to Thiel forcing us to do what we had to do. We came in just deciding to run the ball and for us today, it was just an old-fashioned throwback game.”
While Muschett led all rushers in the game with 126 yards, Barge was close behind with 72.
“The yards were real tough to come by today, but we know how to deal with that because everybody knows that is what we are going to do,” said Barge. “Our line just played real well, gave us some good holes and all of the backs ran real hard. We have three good backs and we can count on each one of us to get the job done. As for the first win, it really feels great.”
Although Dean only showed 34 yards on nine carries, two of his efforts were huge in the fourth period to allow Geneva to be able to control the ball.
With the Golden Tornadoes faced with a fourth-and-1 at the Thiel 35, not only did Dean pick up the first down, but he ripped off a 9-yard run for a first down at the Tomcat 26. Five plays later, Dean capped the scoring drive from one yard out for his second TD of the game to ice the game for the Tornadoes.
“We just had it in our minds that we had to come out, play hard and win the game,” said Dean. “We felt we couldn’t walk out of here (Alumni Stadium) with anything less (than a win). We played with that attitude the whole game and that was a big factor in our being able to win the game.”
As for the big runs in the final scoring drive, Dean said it wasn’t anything that he hadn’t done previously in the game.
“I didn’t even think about it,” he said. “I just wanted to do what I had been doing all day. When I get the ball, I just run as hard as I can every time.”
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